Oscar-Claude Monet was born in 1840 and lived until 1926. He was a French impressionist painter who initiated and became the advocate for this style of art and this style is what brought his fame. Monet found his own method of producing art that incorporated using the same motif to create a series of pieces that he adapted with the changing light or with his mood and interest.
Monet influenced a wide range of other artists including fellow impressionist Vincent van Gogh as well as newer artists such as Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse. These American artists visited and adopted Monet’s impulsive style and subject matter and this led to the introduction of such style to American art.
Monet’s works was a revolution for the history of art and he created the impressionist movement. Before his time, painters often worked inside workshops and painted unrealistic depictions of individual subjects. Monet focused on light, shapes and colours as he saw them. The invention of paint in tubes and the easel made his artistic journey much easier allowing him to paint outside. His painting ‘Impression Sunrise’ led to a movement that was named impressionism.
Monet often painted portraits of his wife Camille and his piece ‘La Femme en robe verte’ became very successful in a salon in 1866 which led to his desire to become a portrait painter. Whilst he was painting portraits of women in gardens, he fell in love with nature, light and landscapes.
Monet had a terrible temper and was not well liked in his home town of Giverny. His purpose in life was to paint and he surrounded himself only with his art and so called friends who were apparently as awful to be around as he was himself!
Like many artists, Monet did not live a wealthy life. He borrowed money from friends and was forced to live separately from his wife and move back home with his parents to survive. Later on, Monet, alongside his wife, befriended a couple of collectors (the Hoschedes) and the four of them all lived together. Then in 1870 Monet was introduced to a well known art dealer who supported him for the rest of his life.
Monet often painted the same thing over and over again but each painting was different due to the fluctuations of the light, time of day and the seasons. This led to a series of paintings that included things like London’s Parliament and Water Lilies.
Claude Monet married and had two children with his wife Camille, however, he had an affair with Alice Hoschede (one half of the collectors they moved in with). After the deaths of their spouses, Claude and Alice married and raised all of their children altogether. One of Claude’s sons, Jean, later married one of Alice’s daughters, Blanche. Towards the end of Claude’s life after the deaths of both Alice and his son, he went on to have a relationship with his step-daughter/in law Blanche.
Monet often painted his own family in his pieces and some included his parents, wife and son as well as his second wife Alice and her daughters. Sometimes he painted several characters on one canvas but always made sure that his wife Camille played the role of the character.
Monet was diagnosed with a cataract that really affected his sight and colour perception, just at the peak of his art career. He refused to have surgery for quite some time, but eventually he did. He lost many loved ones in his final years too including his great friend Renoir, both wives, son and step daughter/daughter in law/mistress. When he died, a close friend did not want him covered with a black cloth so he draped flowery curtains over him instead.
Monet knew of nothing but painting. He had no other interests at all and often became distanced from his family. He wrote letters to loved ones confessing his love for painting and nature. After his death, his other son inherited his works but after a fatal car accident, the works were finally acquired by the Musee Marmottan where they can still be seen today.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Monet, If you would like to display some of his art in your home, we have a lovely choice of vases and giftware that feature some of Monet’s most recognised artworks including Water Lilies and Woman With A Parasol. To browse the full range click here.